LOS ANGELES — Industry veteran Robert P. Hermanns is preparing to step into his new role next Monday as director of the Food Industry Management and Food Industry Executive programs at the University of Southern California.
He succeeds Tom Arnold, who retired last May.
Hermanns, 65, received his MBA from USC in 1967 — the same year he graduated from USC's Food Industry Management Program.
He will be the program's fourth director in its 51-year history and the first alumnus to head the program, a one-semester program is designed for high-potential employees from food retailing, wholesaling and manufacturing companies with positions in operations, sales, marketing, warehousing, distribution and processing.
Students are selected by their employers, and tuition is paid by the Western Association of Food Chains out of funds donated by vendor companies.
Hermanns said he is excited to be joining USC “as I have personally seen how this program makes an impact on the future leaders in the food industry.”
He told SN he is not sure yet if he will teach a class — as his predecessor did — this spring, during his first semester as director; nor is he sure if he will try to recruit another industry executive to succeed Ed Hill, a former retailer who retired from the faculty last spring.
For the past three years, Hermanns has been senior vice president of the Park City Group, Salt Lake City, a retail solutions software company.
He was president and chief executive officer of Associated Grocers, Seattle, from 2002 through 2005, and chief operating officer for Weis Markets, Sunbury, Pa., 2000-2002. Before that, he worked in a variety of management positions with American Stores Co.